Sinn Féin councillor Conor McGuinness has said the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) needs to be expanded to ensure businesses are protected during the new lockdown.
“The new lockdown has been driven by the immediate need to protect public health, and that must always be the priority.
“That said, these restrictions will place a heavy burden on Waterford SMEs, who are facing into a third lockdown in less than a year.
“The Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), we are told, aims to support businesses during the higher levels of lockdown.However, since day one, a number of limitations with the scheme have been highlighted by businesses and politicians.
“In the days following the announcement of the scheme, my colleagues and I pointed out that the narrow nature of the scheme would mean suppliers, event management companies, taxi drivers, the outdoor activity industry, businesses without a fixed premises, and many others, would fall through the cracks within the scheme.
“There are companies, such as in the event management business, who employ many people, organise events all over the state bringing business activity to nearly every county, and who contribute significant tax revenue to the state, who have been excluded from the scheme because they don’t have a fixed premises.
“There are other businesses, such as suppliers, who are affected upstream by the shockwaves of the lockdown on their downstream customers, and they are also excluded from the CRSS scheme due to the narrow nature of who can qualify for funding.
“Unfortunately, to date, the issues identified within the scheme have not been addressed.
“Reform and expansion of the CRSS scheme is immediately needed to ensure it delivers for as many suffering businesses as possible during this third comprehensive lockdown.”